Montgomery Parks Announces 2022 – 2023 Annual Deer Population Management Operations and Related Seasonal Park Closures

Washington Grove Conservation Park/Piedmont Crossing Local Park and Rock Creek Stream Valley Park Unit #3, added to ongoing efforts.

Montgomery Parks announces its annual deer population management program to occur from September 2022 into March 2023. Two locations (three total park units) are being added this year for a total of 63 parks where archery and/or firearms-managed deer hunting, or Park Police-based sharpshooting operations, will take place. These 63 parks comprise nearly 60 percent of M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks’ total land area.

This year, the following parks are being added to continued deer population management efforts:

  • Archery-managed hunting at Washington Grove Conservation Park/Piedmont Crossing Local Park (expansion of existing community-led efforts in adjacent Washington Grove), and
  • Park Police-based sharpshooting at Rock Creek Stream Valley Park Unit #3 (expansion of existing efforts in Rock Creek SVP Unit #2).

Initiated 26 years ago, the program(opens in a new tab)addresses the over-population of deer in many areas of the county which result in deer-automobile collisions, excessive damage to the environment, private landscapes and agriculture, and the spread of disease. Once programming is implemented and established in these areas, routine maintenance is typically required to balance deer with available habitat and human land uses.

Since the inception of the program, parks staff and program participants have removed over 22,500 deer. All deer meat is used and/or donated by hunting participants or, in the case of Park Police-based sharpshooting, donated to the Capital Area Food Bank—over 367,000 pounds to date.

“Montgomery County’s mix of urban and suburban development, natural areas, and agriculture offer excellent “edge” habitat, rich in food and cover resources where deer thrive. Combined with limited hunting and lack of other predators, this results in deer over-population and associated impacts on the environment.” said David Petersen, Montgomery Parks wildlife ecologist. “Our deer population management efforts are intended to address public safety concerns and protect natural resources. Across all program elements, the safety of residents remains our top priority.”

Residents directly adjacent to newly added/expanded park locations are notified by mail of new deer population management efforts.

Signs alerting the public of all deer population management programs are posted in advance at targeted locations throughout and around affected parks, at all official park entrances, and in select communities adjacent to the affected parks. Some parks included in deer management programming require closure (firearms-based management). Park visitors are asked to plan accordingly for visiting those park locations.

Archery and Firearms Managed Hunting:

Archery and firearms-managed deer hunting are conducted by qualified, pre-screened hunters, under the direction and oversight of Montgomery Parks professional staff. Archery-managed deer hunting occurs from September through January, currently in 22 parks (park units), and does not require the parks to be closed.  Firearms-managed deer hunting takes place in 11 parks (park units) which are closed to the public for each 24-hour period while operations are underway. (A complete schedule of hunt dates and locations is available online(opens in a new tab).)

Park Police-based Sharpshooting Operations:
Park Police-based sharpshooting operations are conducted at night by highly trained and certified Park Police sharpshooters, in cooperation with Parks wildlife ecologists, under stringent guidelines, from mid-January – March 31.  Thirty-two parks (park units) are included in these operations.  These parks, including all trails, are closed during operations from sunset – sunrise (when parks are typically closed, per Park Rules and Regulations(opens in a new tab)).

Questions or comments regarding deer management programming may be directed to: [email protected](opens in a new tab) or 2425 Reedie Drive, 2nd Floor, Wheaton, MD 20902 ATTN: Customer Service Office.  Please include your full name and address to allow for record-keeping and response as appropriate.

Driver Safety Tips 

As summer winds down, daylight hours begin to decrease, deer food sources are shifting, and the breeding season, known as “the rut,” is approaching.  Each of these factors influences the movement patterns of deer and increases the risk of deer-vehicle collisions (DVCs).  The period of late October through early December constitutes most of the rut for white-tailed deer in central Maryland.  During this timeframe, deer activity/movement reaches its annual peak. Compounding this is the end of daylight savings time in early November which means commuters are on the roads more often at dawn and dusk. Montgomery Parks urges residents and drivers to plan accordingly and use caution as deer activity becomes more frequent and unpredictable through the autumn months, and offers the following recommendations:

  • Be alert for deer on or near roadways and take precautions.
  • Be aware that deer are most active from dusk through dawn.
  • Look for eye-shine along road edges.
  • Deer may travel in groups, so if you see one deer, expect others.
  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs; these signify areas where multiple accidents have occurred.
  • Never swerve to avoid colliding with a deer.
  • A collision with a deer can happen on any roadway in the county but be particularly cautious in areas where you observe deer often and where woodlands/natural habitats run adjacent to the roadway.

For more information on deer and deer management in Montgomery County, please visit ParksDeerManagement.org(opens in a new tab) for the County’s deer management plan and other various information regarding deer management programming occurring on M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks lands.

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